Florida is a bicycle-friendly state with hundreds of miles of wooded and coastal trails and bike paths in busy metro areas. The state’s year-round sunshine and warm weather make it ideal for cyclists to bike to work and school. Florida considers a bicycle a vehicle, and as such, a cyclist must follow all traffic laws as well as safety regulations specific to cycling.
Despite the state’s bike safety laws and requirements, accidents still occur to cyclists in Florida. When a bike accident involves a motor vehicle, bike riders are vulnerable to serious injuries due to the lack of protection offered by a bicycle compared to an enclosed metal vehicle.
If you’ve been injured in a bike accident in Florida, you may be wondering, “Who will pay my medical bills?”
Damages in bicycle accidents refer to the economic and non-economic consequences of an accident like property damage, medical bills, and lost wages. Because Florida is a no-fault insurance state, accident victims must file claims against their own insurance. This also applies to bicycle accidents as well as motor vehicle accidents. A cyclist’s PIP insurance policy on their auto insurance provides coverage for 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages up to $10,000. Cyclists who don’t have their own auto insurance may file claims against the auto insurance of any family member in their household. To recover this compensation, accident victims must file a claim against their insurance within 14 days of the accident.
Under specific circumstances, a bicyclist may be able to file a claim for compensation for damages including their medical bills from an at-fault motorist. If a driver’s negligence or recklessness behind the wheel directly caused the accident and the driver carries Bodily Injury Liability Insurance (BIL), an injury victim can file a claim against that policy to cover their medical expenses and lost wages. Not all Florida drivers carry BIL insurance since it isn’t required, but if the driver had this coverage in place at the time of the accident and the injury victim has evidence of the driver’s liability, they can successfully make a claim for their damages. In fact, if the at-fault driver has BIL coverage, the injury victim’s claim for damages isn’t limited to medical expenses and lost wages. BIL coverage allows victims to claim intangible, non-economic damages like pain and suffering and emotional distress—damages not covered by PIP policies.
Because cyclists are highly vulnerable to serious and even catastrophic injuries after an accident with a motor vehicle, often their medical expenses and lost wages far exceed Florida’s minimum PIP insurance coverage of $10,000. If the motorist was at fault for the accident, the injury victim can file a lawsuit for compensation for damages including:
To succeed in a personal injury lawsuit after a bicycle accident, the injury victim bears the burden of proving the at-fault driver’s liability. This requires documenting evidence showing that the driver had a duty of care to take reasonable measures to prevent injuries, that they breached this duty by an act of negligence or reckless driving, that their breach of duty directly caused the accident, and that the injury victim suffered serious damages from the injury.
Navigating Florida’s intricate laws surrounding compensation for medical costs after a cycling accident demands the expertise of seasoned personal injury attorneys. Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann, based in Sarasota and Bradenton, stands ready to assist injured cyclists in determining the optimal path forward for their claims. Contact our personal injury lawyers today for a free case evaluation.